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What to wear when working out.

Exercise has a long list of benefits, but it is no walk in the park, since it takes both time and effort to ultimately achieve one's health goals. To look and perform at your best, the right exercise attire is as important as slipping on the correct footwear or using the right equipment. Did you know that wearing the wrong workout clothes not only gives discomfort and increases the risk of injury; it may also cause skin troubles and other infections? This week, let us discuss the right clothing you must wear in every workout to avoid skin problems and other infections. After all, exercise is supposed to make your skin and body better, not worse.

Fabric. Before working out, you should always wear lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics like nylon, spandex, or elastane that are specially designed to help sweat or moisture evaporate easily, especially if you are prone to bacne or body breakouts. Cotton is not a good option because it only soaks in moisture that makes it a possible ground for yeast and bacteria. Neither does satin nor rayon make good options as workout wear, since it only traps moisture even more.

Underwear. Avoid ones that are too tight, creating constant friction with the skin while working out. The skin's defense mechanism to trauma is darkening, so wearing these may lead to pigmentation or scarring. Thongs are uncomfortable for high intensity activities, which may also cause chafing and friction and even possible UTI (Urinary Tract Infections), since fecal elements or bacteria may move from the anal region to the vaginal region. Undergarments with garters or wires may also irritate the skin and cause rashes, which may lead to contact dermatitis (a rash caused by substances that cause itchiness, discomfort, and inflammation of the skin).

Size. Choose clothing that fits just right (too tight may restrict movement and irritate the skin, too loose may not provide enough support) so you can perform your exercises correctly and avoid skin problems. When buying clothes, always see if you are comfortable when moving, bending, or stretching your body. Also, make sure that there are no visible or exposed parts (chest, buttocks) when you bend or reach.

Accessories. Before working out, it is advisable to remove earrings, bracelets, watches, or any other accessory that may be a hindrance when working out properly, especially for high-intensity activities. Hair ties or headbands are necessary to keep your hair away from your face. Towels are important, too, not only to wipe sweat off, but because gym equipment have been used by more than a few people. Use one towel to wipe equipment before using them, and another to wipe off the sweat from your face and body. Instead of rubbing the towel on the sweaty areas of your body, only pat the towel lightly so as not to irritate the skin or cause a breakout.

Other tips to remember: Refrain from wearing makeup before working out, since makeup contributes to clogged pores. At best, only use mineral-based loose powders. When working out, refrain from touching your face with your hands since it has had contact with railings, mats, and other gym equipment, which is a cause of warts. After your workout, do not forget to wash your face immediately, since the combination of sweat, oil, and dirt may trap bacteria on the skin, making it more susceptible to inflammation and breakouts. If washing is not possible, facial wipes or toners containing salicylic acid may be used.

Choosing the right clothing can help you work better and finish your workouts correctly, but it can also avoid skin problems and body infections. Remember these and you'll achieve your health and fitness goals without the skin troubles!

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Title Annotation:Wellbeing
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Aug 18, 2015
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